Theatre In Chicago      
Your Source For What's On Stage In Chicago 

   Quick Search
Search by date:

  Paradise Blue at TimeLine Theatre Company

Paradise Blue

TimeLine Theatre Company
615 W. Wellington Ave Chicago

It's 1949 in Detroit's Black Bottom neighborhood, and Blue, the gifted trumpeter and troubled owner of the Paradise nightclub, is contemplating a buyout offer for the city's urban renewal plan. As the inhabitants of his famed but faltering jazz club ponder their options and dream of a better life, relationships are tested, new challengers emerge, and a mysterious woman arrives to turn their world upside down. As the fate of all their lives looms, they must decide whether to fight to save what's theirs or risk it all for a chance at redemption.

Thru - Jul 23, 2017

Price: $38-$51

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-281-8463

Running Time: 2hrs, 25mins; one intermission

Nearby Restaurants

  Paradise Blue Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Still, "Paradise Blue" will not go quietly into your good night. Even though the script doesn't intersect much with the music of the club (as it really should), Parson makes up for that in his staging, employing music from both Davis and members of the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. And with the help of the designer Brian Sidney Bembridge, he does his considerable best in a small space to convey the restless glamour of the play's cultural moment and the humor of characters loving a place where they can be themselves, while still forging a noirlike sense of impending doom for a paradise we now know was on borrowed time."
Read Full Review

Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...A master of casting, Parson also taps the talents of musicians and designers who are in perfect sync with his vision. And in "Paradise Blue" - which might best be described as a "spoken jazz opera with bluesy overtones," in which the dialogue, poetry and musical riffs are seamless extensions of one other - every note is pitch perfect."
Read Full Review

Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...Both the character and the situation have loads of potential; even the familiar types with which Marisseau surrounds Blue-the wised-up dame, the doormat girlfriend, the bantam lothario-can't dampen that potential. But other factors do: Morisseau's lapses into self-help jargon, an engaging but crucially insufficient performance from Ronald L. Conner as one of Blue's bandmates, and Ron OJ Parson's staging, which is stronger in its elements than as a whole. Al'Jaleel McGhee, on the other hand, smolders dangerously all the way through as Blue."
Read Full Review

Tony Adler

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...Plays about musicians notoriously avoid having them play. How many actors also have advanced instrumental chops? Paradise Blue is graced with original incidental music by great Chicago jazz man Orbert Davis. It's mostly recorded, but McGhee does deliver several live riffs in a close-but-no-cigar effort. McGhee no doubt will improve during the run, but at opening the audience had to use its imagination as he rendered the play's ultimate musical moment, meant to be triumphant for Blue.Christine Pascual designed the sleek, handsome late-40s costumes, while scenic/lighting designer Brian Sidney Bembridge's new stage configuration transforms the TimeLine space with a richly-detailed two-level nightclub setting."
Read Full Review

Jonathan Abarbanel

Time Out Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...But action is a strong word; Blue really only ever seems to react, whether to perceived slights by his girl and his band or to the demons he's predictably tormented by. Ron OJ Parson's production feels most alive in scenes between Abercrumbie and Conner or Ellis, while Morisseau's central character is lacking in defining characteristics, and what she gives him feels derivative. We're drawn in more by the secondary plots, but only kind of by Blue."
Read Full Review

Kris Vire

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...A valedictory for a vanished world, Paradise Blue is faithful to TimeLine's urge to make the past the present. True to its times, Morisseau's driven drama also comes perilously close to melodrama. The ending is a tad too conclusive, settling the play's psychological and social crises soon and suddenly. But before that, Paradise Blue takes us back-beautifully."
Read Full Review

Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Without giving away more, let me state that Paradise Blue is well plotted and nicely written with effective use of trumpet jazz music as underscoring. This play reminds me of August Wilson’s style. Playwright Dominique Morisseau has blended 1940’s black urban culture with fine storytelling into an intriguing play. Paradise Blue becomes shockingly powerful as it moves along. The cast was terrific, particularly Al’ Jaleel Mcghee as Blue and Kristin E. Ellis as Pumpkin. Come to TimeLint theatre to discover a bright new voice with Dominique Morisseau."
Read Full Review

Tom Williams

NewCity Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...There are big ideas at play in “Paradise Blue” but they need more space develop. At two and a half hours, there are entire threads that can, unlike Blue’s demons, be excised. To that point the play let’s its lead off too easy, concentrating more on voodoo spirituality than on the musician’s innately violent misogyny. As a whole, the play could be more powerful without the element of mental illness, instead prodding the selfishness that underlies Blue’s moral conflict. For a play that goes from amble to dead sprint without much in the way of warning, Morisseau needs to be able to raise stakes without bringing a loaded handgun into the room."
Read Full Review

Kevin Greene

Chicago Theatre Review - Recommended

"...The women are the real strength of this five-hander. As Pumpkin, Kristin E. Ellis is lovely, sweet, charming and the most likable character of the lot. She puts up with a lot, including Blue’s angry fits and physical abuse, without ever once considering leaving him. Her final act of defiance is a long time coming, but audiences will understand commiserate with this poor young woman. Tyla Abercrumbie, as Silver, exudes a strong sexuality and absolute power the moment she strides into the Paradise Club."
Read Full Review

Colin Douglas

Third Coast Review - Recommended

"...Paradise Blue by Dominique Morisseau muses on the troubled relationships of jazz musicians in an old jazz club, but she overlays their story with the political turmoil of urban renewal in 1949 Detroit. Timeline Theatre's production adds a superb original score by Orbert Davis to accompany the cast of five, directed by Ron OJ Parson."
Read Full Review

Nancy Bishop

Picture This Post - Recommended

"...At the beginning of the play, McGhee stands in the center of a small stage, framed by green curtains. He’s lit evocatively, and, as he plays the trumpet, his music reverberates throughout the theatre. Christopher Kriz’s sound design supports several moments like this, and they are highly memorable. The moodiness of Orbert Davis’ jazzy original music reverberating as McGhee wails away on his trumpet effectively sets the tone for the play, an impressive preamble foreshadowing the drama yet to unfold."
Read Full Review

Brent Eickhoff

  Paradise Blue Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

Twitter Follow Us On Twitter